“Even when the jury and the judge
Say you gotta right to hold a grudge
It’s the whisper in your ear saying ‘Set It Free’
Forgiveness” ~ Lyrics from Matthew West’s song Forgiveness.
It seems that every time I think I have forgiven, something else happens that reveals I haven’t.
Forgotten does not equal forgiven. And forgiven does not equal forgotten.
Many of my readers know that I started this blog to chronicle my career change. A huge factor in my career change came in the form of a leader who personally did not like me and made my workplace a very unhappy one. After months of prayer, I finally decided to resign my job as a teacher, forgive my leader and move on. Although it did not happen overnight, if you had asked me a week ago, I would have told you I had forgiven him. I most certainly had forgotten.
Today, I’m not so sure. Just recently I visited my old school to workout with a friend of mine. It was a regular routine when we worked together. She had invited me, and I finally took the time to meet her after school. She let me in the building, we worked out, laughed and talked and then said our goodbyes. I left to go home. The principal went to her the next morning and told her I was not allowed back in the building again. She relayed the message to me. Needless to say, neither of us were surprised, and I thought it was over.
Two days later I got a certified letter in the mail. My husband had to go to the post office and sign for it. Hopefully, you can zoom in on this picture and read the details.
I was angry after I processed it. Why? Why did he have to go to this extreme? Why did he send a carbon copy to 4 other people? Why does he not like me? In my anger, I posted a copy of the letter on my Facebook page. I really just wanted to see people’s reaction. Maybe I was blowing the situation out of context and it wasn’t as nasty as I thought. Unfortunately, all the comments were shock and anger that he sent it to me. I may have stirred up a hornet’s nest. And there’s really no purpose in it. So what if I proved that he’s a mean man? There are lots of mean people out there. So what if I proved he showed bad judgment? Everyday people, including me, make bad judgement calls.
More than anything, I think I proved that I have not forgiven him. But, I must, I must, I must forgive him. Not for his sake, but for mine. For my spiritual and mental health.
Right after Jesus gave his disciples an example of how to pray, he added this, “For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.” (Matthew 6: 14-15 NIV)
How about the parable in Matthew 18:21-35, where Jesus tells a story of a king who excused the great debt of a man because he begged for forgiveness? The same forgiven man went out in the town and demanded payment from someone who owed him. Needless to say, when the king found out about it, he was highly upset and ordered the man to prison, but not before he had these words to say,”‘You evil servant! I forgave you that tremendous debt because you pleaded with me. Shouldn’t you have mercy on your fellow servant, just as I had mercy on you?’” (Matt. 18:32-33 NLT)
Because I desire to be close to the Lord and have His full mercy on me, I also desire to forgive others, including this man. It is a choice I must make. I choose not to be judge and jury. I choose to give up the right to hurt him. I choose to let God be God and deal with this person. I hear Him whispering, “Set it free”.